By Howra Salaheddin
You wake up from a nightmare you’ve been having for ten years. You look at the mirror, it feels like every other day; it feels like time is stuck. Has it even been ten years?
The flowers in the vase next to the mirror are dried so maybe a few days have passed. On your way to the washroom you pick up your medications, the box is empty except for one pill; did three weeks already go by? Your eyes scan your face; they rest at a familiar spot, the scar right under your left eye. It’s mostly healed; you didn’t notice that in the last month. Things were hectic. You still remember the day you got it-- the fight at the school and the mess. The school you don’t go to anymore in the city that you don’t live in anymore. Did the moving out and the moving-in take three months? Maybe it was four; can’t remember anything fun from summer anyways.
Your footsteps echo in the hallway as you find your way to the kitchen; since when do you wear slippers? There was a broken glass incident about a year ago. You never ate breakfast but the smell of it is too good to resist and you’re kind of hungry too. The sight of the omelet is mouthwatering and just when you swallowed your bite you remember you were allergic to tomatoes. The doctor said it might go away in three years. You scoffed at him.
You raise your head and face her, she smiles at you and you find yourself smiling back. You don’t feel so mad anymore; you’re tired and the headache is there but you’re not mad. Your dog, Krow, barks; he wants to go for a walk. You pick your favourite sweater to throw on. The colour surprises you. It’s red. You used to hate red, it was her favourite colour. It made you look like her.
Looking at your nails as you follow Krow with his leash and you find no blood. They’re still short and obviously bitten but there’s no meat and dried blood. The record store is displaying a new poster; Robyn is back with a new album, ‘Took her long enough’ you think. ‘Almost eight years.’
You don’t feel eyes on you, the sky isn’t mocking you and the wind isn’t slapping across your face. You still won’t go in the alley and the smell of the cigarettes make you dizzy but you can breathe through it. You make your way back to the house and dance a bit when you hear the new song.
While you take your shoes off, you hear them talking. She’s on a video call with Granny in her garden; she waves enthusiastically and asks how you’ve been. She looks different but still the same, white hair and soft smiles and skinny cheeks. She points at a tree on her right; it’s the one you planted on your seventh birthday. She says its apples have been the best for ten years now. She promises to bring some back for you.
Back in the room, you look at the mirror again; has it been ten years or just one morning? She calls you. Lunch is ready.